The Culmination of Motorsport: Nismo Festival 2014

Over almost two years of running this site I can state that we are no longer strangers to manufacturer sponsored "festivals".  Having visited various events from Ferrari, to tuners such as HKS, to last week Toyota's, we are back to Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway. 

Having visited this event in 2013, I already knew what to expect and where to go in search for awesome rides or track side action.  Somehow I feel that overall organization, as well as variety of cars, fueled by Nissan's welcoming attitude towards 3rd party tuners made this event stand out from the rest of the bunch.
Cars representing all generations of Nissan's motorsport division embraced by fans and tuners alike were proudly paraded in front of crowd regardless of their age, style, or sticker price.

The event also serves a purpose of being a playground for bargain hunters, making this kind of scene typical for the weekend.

This was also a golden opportunity to witness what owners and tuners are doing with their cars as it is events like this where global trends are set.

For over ten years Nissan fans were left without a GTR patiently waiting for that red badge while embracing whatever version of Skyline Nissan would throw at them.  The GTS-R was the highlight of the decade and it is now gaining its popularity very rapidly despite being hopelessly surpassed by pretty much every car when it comes to performance, but how can one not admire this form?

However it is the expensive hobby of today's more fortunate enthusiasts that played the crucial part in after market component sales: The R35 GTR has been the flagship of entire JDM scene from the day it went on sale in 2007, and now that Nissan has publicly acknowledged its upgrade potential and invited tuners to parade their demo cars at the main paddock, all horse power hell broke loose.

Top Secret R35 was always the crowd favorite, sporting the unique gold color, as usual it has an array of upgrades hidden under the hood.  The V6 power plant has been treated with 4.0 stroker kit from Greddy along with high capacity injectors and throttle body. Greddy has also supplied the Turbo and Intercooler kits.  Smoky Nagata and his engineers fitted the in-house exhaust and finalized the tuning to produce over 1000HP.

In addition to the gold painted R35 Top Secret brought around a new black one, sporting an array of new features borrowed from their time attack car that we witnessed during MotorGames earlier this year.  Unique to the R35 is the addition of air suspension that, along with more user friendly 800HP suggest that this would be attempt of Top Secret to have a go at "comfort" road going car.

Lightweight carbon parts such as this bonnet are always a welcome addition to the notoriously heavy R35.

There is no limit when it comes to the power output potential of the GTR. One company that seems to be very consistent in the delivery of all this power is HKS. Today they brought around their Kamikaze R fitted with Varis body kit, and

found a unique way to display its internals.  Here is proof that there is bright future for Japanese car culture. 

Bored and stroked to 4.1L the VR38DETT engine is fitted with a giant turbo, upgraded air sensor, and has completely reworked intake manifold. At least 1000HP is expected but rumors say that 1500 benchmark has been surpassed.  Like I said, HKS is very consistent when it comes to power.

Of course, these events do not go without presence of DoLuck who's R35 has been always evolving.  With power capacity reaching that desired limit, the accent is now being made on aero and weight reduction.  I will try to bring more details on this car from the upcoming 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon.

The ultimate way to display performance upgrades is to show off a car that has made a blatant exhibition of excess power with display of thick tire smoke into a habit.  We already witnessed how Mastato Kawabata in this very RWD converted 1000HP Greddy Nissan GTR slid past  competition in this year's D1GP exhibition round.

Companies like Mine's are not as active in various competitions as some of the counterparts, but they are persistent in their presentation.  I cannot just walk by the gorgeous R35 and R34 displayed side by side without snapping a photo.

Speaking of R34's, they just refuse to age.  The famous HKS R34 - built to achieve that perfect street car balance of performance and comfort still looks as appealing as it did in early 2000's. 

On performance front, tuners are still exploiting all the possibilities of the RB26 power plant.  Cockpit Wako are no strangers to the tuning world and their R34 demo car has been turning heads since before 2007.  For this year changes are mostly aesthetic as the car now sits on gold powder coated Volk Racing TE37 wheels.  Performance modifications include Nismo R1 Turbo kit, with Blitz SusPower air filter paired with Nismo Intake pipe enhancing air flow  Fuel is delivered though Nismo pump, with Greddy providing 264 degree Cam shaft for better response. 

Things were looking even more interesting when I took a closer look at this Championship Blue R33 sitting on bronze TE37 wheels as its true beauty was on on the inside.

With most current manufacturers tending to conceal the mess under the hood with unprepossessing and purposeless, made of cheap and heavy plastic engine covers, it is always refreshing to see the beauty of classic Japanese straight six motor, especially when it has been worked on in such great manner.  To begin with, there is a massive T88 Single turbo kit from Greddy, the block also seems to feature unusual color, and for good reason. The unit has been stroked to 2.8L with stoker kit along with VCam provided by HKS.  The increased displacement should play a crucial role in improving response, low-end torque as well as reducing turbo lag. 

At the end of the day, who wouldn't want THIS under their hood?

With the link between Skyline and GTR slowly disappearing into a distant past, we can only hope that it will be revived in some way, shape, or form. Infiniti EU Rouge? We are waiting!

The was no shortage of Z cars at the event.  The popularity of this mid-range sports car proves that the concept of fun to drive is not just about power.

Or is it? The madness under the hood of this US spec wide-bodied scissor-door Z33 made me eat my words.

The lazy 3.5L V6, often criticized for lack of top end power and response has been fitted with a twin-scroll supercharger kit from Stillen, which should be good for a 50 to 100 HP increase.

Characteristically to the Nismo festival there was no shortage of the S chassis cars modified beyond recognition.  This event wouldn't be complete without at least one Rocket Bunny car..

This convertible 240SX was attracting plenty of attention as well.  Seeing an open top S13, which were manufactured in limited numbers is obviously a rare sight, but what is even more unique is what was fitted under the hood.

The SR20 has been treated to a Tomei turbocharger, intake manifold and 256 degree cam shaft to keep things light and responsive.  entire exhaust system from head to muffler has been also made by Tomei Power.

The kind of variety of cars present at the paddocks is what makes Nismo Festival stand out from the rest of the events.

But paddock display was just a small part of the show as real gems were hidden inside the pits.

Such as this extremely rare Ken Merry GTR race car.  Even though it did not see any competition back in the 70's,

we are lucky to witness it being taken to track today, thanks to the organizers of this event.

The famous coupe was joined by other race-modified cars of the same era in a classic Nissan exhibition race.

The race was one of the most fun to watch as these light weight boxes battled it out on the famous Fuji Speedway.

Rated at about 200 horse power the small 1.3L engines are extremely responsive, which proved too much for some of the drivers.  The unfortunate driver of car #75 spun out right in the path of his competitor causing him to catapult into air, crash, and retire from the race. 

The nostalgic spirit of the vintage Nissan cars lives forever here at Fuji Speedway.

On the more modern front the amateur Z race was a less spectacular as it seemed like the drivers kept the drivers assists on for this run.

The amateur GTR race was a lot more fast paced although it is hard to enjoy the muffled sound of the stock VR38DETT.

There was plenty of time for these big boys to show off their potential as well.

The proclaimed Le Mans race cars were on display in the pits and on track, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

Indeed, a rare opportunity to see and hear the R390GT1 car opening up the magnificent 3.5L twin-turbocharged V8.

Of course, being a Nismo Festival, there were plenty of production and classic Nismo variants of road cars. 

Most of them had an opportunity to go around the track....

Perhaps the exclusive R35 is the epitome of Nismo engineering that has perfectly sealed its place in automotive history,

along with the rare and pretty bad-ass Nismo 400R.

On which I would like to conclude the coverage of this year's Nismo Festival.

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